Snowden (2016) Review

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Snowden tells the true story of Edward Snowden and how, through his experience with the CIA, NSA, and Dell in computer programming, he became a wanted man. He discovers governmental secrets he deemed corrupt and an invasion privacy and revealed them to the world, becoming a apart of the espionage act.

To me, Snowden is the most important film to see this year. It involves a moral dilemma that will really divide people. The choice in which the title character decides on is one that can be seen either as heroic or villainous. It opens as a journalist and documentary director (who really did perform the interview with Snowden) prepare to get Snowden’s side of things as far as the kind of person he was, what made him do what he did, and how it affected his personal life in not only doing this, but with how knowing these secrets affected him. From beginning to end, it’s a very gripping story that goes through every major detail of Snowden’s life leading up to that moment. And every detail matters in showing who he is as person and showing why he did it. This includes his relationship with some of his co-workers who see the wrong in it but are too afraid to speak up, as well as his girlfriend played by Shailene Woodley. With most biographical films, you would think there are certain points where the film would lose steam, but for me this one held up well throughout its 2 hours and 15 minutes. Even after the final events and it comes to the prologue section, it is pleasing to see the aftermath. This film is important because of the topics of discussion it will bring up. Even if you know how the story ends, there is still some suspense to be had in seeing the lengths Snowden went to, to bring all of this to light and the toll it took on him. On a side note, the love story between Snowden and his girlfriend Lindsay is really engaging in that they come off as a real couple and dealing with real issues, and how Snowden’s work effects their relationship and the way the struggle through that.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the title characters and it’s hands-down his best performance thus far. He perfectly captures the real Edward Snowden in terms of how he presents himself and even down to the voice. But even if you aren’t familiar with Snowden in real life, you felt a sense of genuineness in how Gordon-Levitt captures the moral and ethical dilemma Snowden finds himself, as well as how he tries to juggle this and his personal life and relationships. Shailene Woodley as usual shines as Lindsay, Woodley always has this way of portraying a down-to-earth and carefree persona on screen. And it’s definitely present here too in showing what it is about Lindsay that Snowden loves, because we in turn fall for and care about this girl as well. The struggles that Lindsay deals with in this  journey is visible and makes you feel for her, as well as her trying to overcome this because of her love for Joseph’s character, and Shailene portrays this greatly and realistically. Not to mention the chemistry between the two is flawless. It is also worth noting that the film features a big name cast including Melissa Leo and Zachary Quinto as the documentarist and journalist, Nicholas Cage as Snowden’s mentor type character in school, Scott Eastwood as Snowden’s superior at the NSA. Many other familiar faces come about and they all play their roles just as well.

Snowden boasts an all star cast with top-notch performances, perfect storytelling, suspenseful moments, and themes and issues worth knowing talking about that make this film worth seeing and the most important film of the year.

5/5

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